Like all Englishmen good and true, I have 18th September circled in red on my Economist diary.
This is the date upon which, hopefully, our friends north of the border will vote resoundingly for Scottish independence.
The carefully-worked out strategy of those of us working behind the scenes, not only at Westminster but in regions up and down this land of warm beer, Melton Mowbray pies and Land Of Hope And Glory, Jerusalem and My Old Man’s A Dustman is now moving inexorably into Stage 2 of our campaign.
We’re done with the ‘studied indifference’ phase, and have now begun the active ‘piss them off’ one.
First, David Cameron adopted his best ‘uncaring down south Tory premier’ mode and made a post-modern ironic plea for national UK unity from a 2012 Olympic cycling velodrome venue in London, asking all English voters to assure Scots that we love them really and want them to stay. Our pollsters estimated that this should add between 750,000 and 1.2 million votes to the ‘Yes’ campaign in Scotland, but I think they’re being a touch conservative (with a small ‘c’) – I think the total could be closer to 2 million.
Secondly, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne flew to Edinburgh [pollsters’ estimate 500,000 ‘Yes’ votes on its own] and announced, with the support of both Labour’s Ed Balls and the Lib-Dems’ Danny Alexander, that the United Kingdom would not allow an independent Scotland to use the pound sterling as its currency [pollsters’ estimate 1 million additional ‘Yes’ votes].
Cue the SNP Deputy Leader Nichola Sturgeon flying to London to appear on last Wednesday’s Andrew Neil’s BBC2 Politics Show and roundly condemning the very idea that Scotland could not use the pound. Neil repeatedly asked her – assuming that the three main Westminster parties weren’t bluffing – what the SNP’s Plan B was and received no answer. It was unclear to me at the time whether Ms Sturgeon’s refusal signified that the SNP had none, or whether she was claiming that Plan A (retaining the pound) was something that a British government, now minus the ball and chain of its Scottish neighbour, was unable to prevent.
Thirdly, of course, yesterday those of us watching the Andrew Marr Show yesterday saw EC president Jose Manuel Barroso assert that an independent Scotland would have a devil of a job gaining EC membership, simply because it would require the assent of all 27 (or it is 28?) EU member countries.
This welcome bombshell naturally produced howls of protest from various ‘Yes’ vote campaigners in Scotland and – I have to say – gave a totally unexpected boost to those of us working our nuts off down here to be rid of them. I haven’t been in touch with our pollsters yet – they don’t work on Sundays – but I should have thought Mr Barroso’s intervention could safely have added yet another million to the Scots’ ‘Yes’ vote in September.
Speaking entirely from a self-interest point of view – I’m not an educated man and don’t understand the finer financial and political implications – the one thing I’m really looking forward to post-Scottish independence is slightly closer to home.
I’m assuming that if Scotland goes independent, especially if it doesn’t get automatic EU membership in the process as now seems the case, then we in the rest of the UK won’t have to grant them EU ‘freedom of movement’ access.
The Scots will have to have their own passports and – by use of stringent border controls and passport monitoring – we shall be able to rid ourselves of not only the wholly-disproportionate predominance of Scots presenters and reporters all across our media (broadcasting and newsprint alike), but of any need for the ‘rest of the UK’ media outlets to carry any coverage at all of the Scottish mickey-mouse football and rugby teams about which nobody south of the border cares in the slightest.
[Cue, courtesy of YouTube, the Edwin Hawkins Singers’ rendition of OH HAPPY DAY …]